Your resume and LinkedIn profile CAN position you for specific levels of leadership roles.

Showcase Your Leadership Style

First of all, know your leadership style. Many people WANT a leadership role, but it is difficult to advocate for yourself to take on a leadership role without knowing how to clearly articulate your leadership style. Leaders are VERY different from each other. Think about how you thrive.

Do you lead by example? Are you a servant leader? Do you make tough decisions based on data? Does empathy underpin all of your interactions? Do you hire experts and trust them to execute? Do you set high standards? Do you create order from chaos? Do you usher in change?

Most likely, your leadership style is a combination of a few attributes. It might help to ask colleagues, friends, or your significant other for their thoughts on the matter, too. When you KNOW how you lead, you will be able to showcase your leadership style. By doing so, you will be taken more seriously as a leader and be better aligned to find roles where you can THRIVE rather than just struggle through.

This is most often discussed in the summary of the Resume or in the About section on your LinkedIn profile. This extra piece of character will help you stand out and position you as a strong candidate.

Accomplishments that Highlight Leadership Skills

Here are some bullets you might see in content structured to attract leadership roles:

Team Leadership & Projects
  • Led cross-functional team implementing new technology and tools. Oversaw research and selection process, developed training, and advanced adoption timeline. Reduced workflow from 40 minutes to 2 minutes.

  • Rebalanced teams with complimentary skillsets and diverse problem solving and communication styles.

  • Introduced team rotation program, enabling cross-training and exposure to a wide range of projects.

Senior Leaders
  • Conducted competitive analysis and presented findings to C-suite and executive stakeholders.

  • Key contact with top accounts, facilitating demonstrations and maintaining a cadence of onsite visits to bypass the RFP process and secure lucrative agreements.

  • Developed, coached, and mentored team by offering training opportunities and internal job shadowing during off-peak periods.

  • Entrusted as the primary company representative at trade shows, conferences, and media/public events.

  • Featured public speaking engagements and interviews with industry-leading publications.

C-Level Leadership
  • Directed strategic planning and execution for greenfield development in the Southern region. Selected site, partnered with legal team to structure agreement, and hired leadership team.

  • Performed due diligence prior to 3 acquisitions selected to complement existing product portfolio.

  • Partnered with Head of People to reframe the company’s mission, vision, and values statements. Enacted a CEO communications strategy with speaking engagements and regular content on internal social media platform. Repositioned the organization as a destination place of work.

  • Broke down verticals by introducing rotation programs and expanding internal communication channels, such as a company-wide app with access to training with badging process, anonymous feedback, internal messaging, and kudos features.

Soft Skills Among Leaders

Leaders with high EQ are also in demand. Soft skills are tougher to train, so feature your communication skills and ability listen, inspire, motivate, present, negotiate, adapt,

and collaborate. It’s also important for leaders to understand how their work impacts the business as a whole, so include multidisciplinary awareness and contributions.

Here are some example bullets you might see highlighting soft skills in a resume or LinkedIn profile:

High EQ, Coaching & Mentoring

  • Introduced weekly lunch and learn, selecting speakers and topics based on suggestions.

  • Encouraged employees to come back into the office by setting up game tables that allowed team members to make a move on breaks. Bridged language barriers and fostered rapport among diverse team members with quick, numbers-based card games.

  • Established Friday afternoon cookouts with recognition and reward activities, such as reading weekly kudos, monthly awards, and mentor meetups.

  • Tapped top contributors to mentor green talent, accelerating contribution timeline, improving employee retention 5%, and increasing employee satisfaction 27% per independent survey.

A few soft skills can also be woven into the summary. Don’t just include them because you see them in job descriptions. Make sure the soft skills you include truly reflect what your own character and strengths.

Other Paths to Leadership Experience

If your current organization is fairly flat with no leadership opportunities, consider external routes to gain leadership experience. Join nonprofits or professional organizations and run for leadership positions. Join organizations dedicated to shaping leaders or networking with effective leaders.

Another option is to take courses and training to enhance your leadership skills. General leadership courses will work, as well as those that help you build soft skills in high demand for leadership positions.

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Age discrimination persists, both young and old. So how do we handle illegal or unethical questions about age during interviews?

First, rest assured, you do not have to answer illegal or unethical interview questions.

If this happens you have two choices:

1) Decide the interviewer or organization is immoral and you don’t want to work for them. You can even tactfully end the interview early if you feel it's a waste of your time.

2) Decide the interviewer is simply poorly trained or unaware that they’ve stepped into the illegal/unethical zone. In this case, watch for more infractions and carefully frame your answers.

If you determine it’s worthwhile to continue the conversation, address the concern BEHIND the question, as opposed to answering an uncouth question directly.

If an interviewer asks point blank about your age...

The concern is that you may be dwindling in energy reserves or for younger candidates, the concern might be centered around lower retention rates or lack of professional experience. Either way, emphasize the positive attributes of your age.

Q — How old are you?

Your answer can address experience, not age. It might sound something like this:

A (Older candidates) — I have enough experience to know in what parameters I thrive and I am confident I will excel in this role.

A (Younger candidates) — I have the experience to know that I can excel in this role.

If the interviewer ask about your health...

The concern is whether you will be an insurance liability for the hiring organization or that you will be a high cost employee with poor ROI.

Q — Do you have health issues?

A — I am poised to deliver tremendous outcomes for your organization. I have driven 5% year-over-year revenue growth for the past 3 years, traveled extensively to quality check new production lines, and enabled the launch of 21 new products last year.

For younger and older candidates, the interviewer might ask about travel or recent moves....

The subtext might be age-related concerns about transience or lack of commitment, especially if asked in tandem with other age-related inquiries.

If the position includes travel, you can wrap it into your answer. If not, proceed with caution.

Q — Where have you traveled recently? How often do you move?

A (Position with no travel) — I have enjoyed my travels/recent moves, but I am looking forward to establishing some roots and thoroughly enjoy the community that comes with shared experience and mutual goals within an organization.

A (Position with travel) — I thoroughly enjoy traveling/moving around the country, especially to destinations where I have a purpose. I would love to travel on Acme company's behalf to better serve our clients and strengthen those relationships.

If an interviewer asks about your family, loved ones, or caregiving responsibilities

The concern is centered around your availability and ability to manage your fair share of the workload.

Q —Do you have caregiving responsibilities?

A — I am well prepared to meet the availability requirements for this role.

If an interviewer seems to be probing as to whether you’re close to retirement...

The concern pertains to longevity and commitment.

Q — Are you close to retirement?

A — If selected to serve as your next Head of Accounting, I intend to see my projects through to completion and follow through on any commitments.

Bad interviews happen. It doesn't mean you're unworthy.

If you feel the questions were unfortunate, but the interviewer and company remain appealing weigh an offer carefully to make sure you are truly comfortable working there after an intrusive interview.

If the interviewer clearly crossed a line, try not to take it personally. Poor treatment does not mean you are in inadequate candidate, but rather that the interviewer was ill-equipped to conduct a line of relevant questioning.

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There are so many opportunities to hone your personal brand and it doesn’t have to be cheesy or overhyped. What it does need to be is CLEAR. Once you have that clarity, you can run with it! So where to? And how do you spread your message?

Brand Your Email

Consider creating a custom email domain and email address. Custom email addresses like or are less likely to be sorted into junk mail or nonessential folders, thereby increasing the odds your outreach will make it to its destination.

Try GoDaddy as an affordable option for purchasing domain names. Wix also offers this service, but fair warning, you could lose access to your domain if you switch web builders.

Brand Your LinkedIn URL

Basic professional polish demands a custom LinkedIn URL. Make sure you remove the alphabet soup after your name. If your name is taken or you want to further solidify your brand, consider adding your area of expertise, such as JaneRenfroTravelWriter or GarySanchezDesign.

Brand Your LinkedIn Headline

Your LinkedIn headline should also incorporate your branding statement along with a few relevant keywords. For example: Lead Staff Software Engineer at TechCo is limiting and doesn’t speak to a value offering.

Instead, opt for general functional scope + value offering + (sometimes) for whom, such as Sr. Software Engineer/Architect innovating products and solutions in Agile environments for Fortune 50 companies.

Another option, lots of keywords: Award-Winning Chief Medical Officer | Healthcare Executive | Addiction Medicine Programs | Emergency Medicine.

Brand Your LinkedIn Photo

Include a photo zoomed in on your face for your in LinkedIn profile picture. You can use Photofeeler to select the best photo and Profile Pic Maker to create a background that helps your photo pop, especially if your chosen photo’s background is cluttered.

Consider echoing our brand colors in your apparel or background color. Choose clothes that reflect your brand and target clients, partners, or industry.

Brand Your LinkedIn Banner

A custom LinkedIn banner can also improve your personal brand. Create a custom LinkedIn banner using Canva, GIMP, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.

Don’t leave that boring gray banner and avoid the default banner suggestions. They’re all over LinkedIn and won’t help you stand out or align with your unique brand. Best case, your banner bolsters your brand — an image of you speaking, a picture of you hard at work, or stylized object shots in colors that echo throughout your branding pieces.

Brand Your Media Files and Featured Section

Add media to your LinkedIn Featured section and the Media sections aligned with each position. Apple Clips is great for recording quick videos and easily inserting captions to improve content reception and retention.

Brand Your Keywords

From a resume/LinkedIn content perspective, use JobScan or ResyMatch to run raw content through the system. If reports come out with on-theme keywords, you’re probably in good shape in terms of keeping the narrative aligned with your brand. If not, you have some work to do!

Opening your resume with a target title and including a keyword bank can solidify your brand. Consider adding subtle shading to reinforce brand colors, while remaining ATS friendly.

Brand Your Online Footprint

Potential partners and hiring authorities will search for additional social proof beyond LinkedIn to find out more about you and what you bring to the table. Creating your own online portfolio or website can elevate your standing significantly.

Wix and WordPress are free and easy sites that can quickly improve search results. Make sure the web content and themes reinforce your brand messaging, including color schemes, photos, video excerpts, and more.

Don’t post your resume on your LinkedIn profile or website. This decreases likelihood of outreach and makes it more difficult to customize messaging on “living,” evolving content like your resume and LinkedIn profile. Instead use fresh content, post articles/blogs on your field/industry, and create a web bio that states your value offering and lists career highlights.

Consistent branding reinforces your credibility and makes you more memorable. When all signs point to your firm commitment to a field, industry, or topic, your opportunities grow!


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